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Preparing For The Chicago Marathon

While training for a marathon, whether as a first timer or a veteran, visualization can help push you thru the long training runs or when you get in a rut.

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Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, my thoughts and comments about all things related to running, training, events, and accessories, among others.  I want to take just a few minutes to introduce myself and where I am coming from.  While I am by no means an expert, I am a veteran of 21 half marathons (as of 8/14/11), one marathon, and countless shorter races.  I started running about 9 years ago right after my wife and I got engaged.  I was running to lose weight and get in some shape for our wedding, and starting out I could barely run 10 minutes without passing out.  I stuck with it, and eventually I was up to running 6 miles, 3 times per week.  It was soon after that I agreed to run my first half marathon, the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon.  It was the training and the completion of that race that hooked me, and I haven’t looked back since. 


I wanted to start off this series with something that really helped me in the training for my first marathon, the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in May 2011 (yes, same as my first Half, felt there was some symmetry there).  I was following the Hal Higdon marathon training schedule and Hal likes to give descriptions of each run along with little nuggets along the way.  There was one in particular that really helped me thru several of my training runs, often making me smile and pushing me forward.  His advice was to visualize what it was going to feel like to cross the finish line.  If you have completed a race long or short you have an idea as to what it’s like to finish; the crowd, the excitement, and most of all the feeling of accomplishment especially if it is the first time at a new distance.  Whether crossing the finish lines means a personal record or accomplishing something that you never thought possible. For a “middle of the packer” like me, that feeling was unlike any other.  No matter how many races you have completed, in my opinion, crossing the finish line of your first marathon is unlike any other experience you have had running.  Since I had run GB before (the finish lines are the same for the full and half marathons) I had a pretty good idea of what the finish line was going to be like, but I didn’t know what is was going to feel like to cross the finish line as a marathoner.  The marathon is the Everest for runners, and something that I never in my wildest dreams thought I would run. The emotion of finishing was not something that I was expecting.  Concentrating on the finish and that excitement during training can really help keep you focused and pushing thru those long lonely runs.  As you get to the middle of your training the excitement of training for the marathon can lose its luster, and this visualization can really provide that little extra motivation you need to keep going.  Sometimes all it takes is something small to “light a fire” to push you thru a random 18 mile training run or break thru that Wall on race day.  I will admit that yes, I have only completed one marathon (I plan to run more), but whether you have run 1 or 100 each race is special. Finishing is something to be celebrated and everyone needs inspiration along the way.  Look at this visualization as the GU that your brain needs to keep going!


If you are training for the Chicago Marathon coming up in October, I would say to not only visualize what it will feel like to finish, but to also visualize the crowds along the way who will also give you a little extra kick that you will need.  Good Luck guys, I am proud of you and I hope to be there to cheer you on!


Going forward, I will try to share some nuggets that I have picked up along the way, some reviews of the races that I have run, maybe some product reviews, and I will share some of my thoughts on some comments/questions that some of my running friends and I have discussed as I was getting my thoughts together for this.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments, it is my hope that this is a community discussion and a place to go and share.